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Argentinian government labels journalist "phony", accuses him of slander

Jorge Lanata
Jorge Lanata

AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) regrets the Argentinian government's labeling of journalist Jorge Lanata as “assassin” and “media murderer.”

In an official release transmitted last Sunday (18 August 2013) at the same time as Lanata's program on Chanel 13, “Journalism for Everyone” (Periodismo Para Todos – PPT), the Office of the Presidency of the Nation denied the legitimacy of information reported regarding a stopover that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner made in the Seychelles Islands – Indian Ocean – and her alleged entailment with an Argentinian company located in the islands that is supposedly used for money laundering.

In the release, the government accuses Lanata of being “Magneto's media assassin,” referring to Héctor Magneto, director of the Clarín Group, and of lying, slandering and inventing “situations and events in order to discredit and disqualify the President of the Nation”. Moreover, the Secretary General of the Presidency, Oscar Parrilli, referred to Lanata as “media assassin” and “extortionist” in statements made to various radio stations.

Although the government publicly disparaged Lanata, it later denied calling him “phony” (gordo chanta) in a tweet by the Presidential Palace's (Casa Rosada) official account, alleging the account had been hacked.

The President of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, said, “Beyond the controversy that could have resulted from the publication of the information in the hands of the journalist, we regret the fact that the government has dragged the public debate into a display of insults, and inappropriate accusations.”

Paolillo, director of the weekly newspaper Búsqueda, warned that this “type of verbal irresponsibility often triggers more serious attacks against journalists”, recalling the hostile acts against the Argentinian media that resulted from the public accusations and “street trials,” in which official political and union organizations “condemned” opposition or independent journalists and media organizations in the most fascist manner.

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